By Train, Plane, & Automobile
May 12, 2021
Centered by a three-hour driving distance between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is a dream destination (yes—even named one of New York Times 52 places to visit and Country Living Magazine’s 10 Best Small Towns in the U.S.). Arriving at Paso Robles’ 250+ wineries is more accessible and beautiful than ever.
With airports in every direction, accessible highways (hello… Highway 1!), and an active railroad, anyone can trek to Paso Robles wine country, whether or not you’re in the Golden State.
Getting to Paso Robles by Plane
Ten airports make ideal jumping-off points. If you’re flying private, you’re fancy. Head straight into the Paso Robles Municipal Airport in your black car. For the rest of us…
The nearest commercial airport to Paso Robles is the San Luis Obispo County Regional (SBP), just 30 miles south. Other nearby airports further south include Santa Maria (SMX) (65 miles), Santa Barbara (SBA) (126 miles), or Los Angeles (LAX) (213 miles). To the north are San Jose (SJC) (159 miles), Oakland (OAK) (190 miles), San Francisco (SFO) (192 miles), or Monterey (MRY) (93 miles) if you want to take advantage of the scenic Highway 1. Also, consider Fresno / Yosemite Airport (FAT) (96 miles) or Bakersfield (BFL) (104 miles).
Under 30 Minute Drive Time to Paso Robles from Airports
San Luis Obispo’s newly renovated airport is the most convenient drive once you land, not to mention smaller. So there are shorter lines and less stress. Three passenger airlines serve San Luis Obispo’s airport, with direct flights to eight cities: Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. Direct flights to Portland and San Diego will engage in June 2021. For its close proximity to Paso and its boutique airport experience, SBP is our recommendation. San Luis Obispo is an easy drive to and from Paso Robles with stunning views and a sneak-peek into Paso Robles’s remarkable charm.
Under 2 Hours Drive Time to Paso Robles from Airports
Santa Barbara and Monterey are close seconds (as Santa Maria only travels directly to Las Vegas). Both require a couple of hours on the road after landing, but the airports are bigger than SBP’s and have a few advantages: more diverse travel times and airline options (like Southwest). Santa Barbara offers a more metropolitan experience beyond the airport, boasting upscale restaurants and shopping on your way to Paso Robles. Monterey is convenient and connected to the Central Coast, as well. It will leave you about 110 miles from Paso Robles with smooth sailing along the 101 or more scenic Highway 1. In the same timeframe, you could fly into Fresno or Bakersfield, and make your drive into SLO CAL with a trip on James Dean Memorial Highway.
Under 4 Hours Drive Time to Paso Robles from Airports
If you need an international hub, San Jose and San Francisco are convenient options under 200 miles to the north. Though it does add a bit of a road trip to your visit, there are few views better than California Central Coast’s rolling hills, and you’re perfectly poised to take the more scenic Highway 1.
If you feel up for LAX, the drive from Los Angeles to Paso Robles gives you the quintessential California road trip. It’s the longest drive time between the options, but the sea-side views add a bit of magic to the excursion.
Getting to Paso Robles by Car
California’s a big state, connected by highways and back roads, alike. There’s plenty to see and do along the way, making the journey as memorable as the destination.
By Car from the North
Take US 101 South and take the 17th Street exit to get to downtown Paso Robles. You’ll know you’ve reached the center of downtown once you see the City Park, located at 12th and Park.
From San Francisco, a car ride usually takes about 3 hours. San Jose shaves about 30 minutes off that time. Both cities are bustling hubs, so there’s plenty to see and do before you hit the road. Want to add Historic Highway 1 to the mix? You’ll add a few hours’ drive time, but you’ll see so much! (Think Hearst Castle and the iconic elephant seals in San Simeon and stunning coastline.)
By Car from the South
Take US 101 North. Using the Spring Street off-ramp, you’ll be able to follow the road to downtown Paso Robles.
Traveling up from Los Angeles is a genuine California road trip with stunning scenery. If you take Highway 101, you’ll have more exciting pitstop options than taking Interstate 5. On the way to Paso Robles, you might enjoy a pit stop in Pismo Beach, which is one of the most classic California beach towns, or make your way to The Village of Arroyo Grande for small-town charm with wild chickens and a swinging bridge. You’ll also be passing through San Luis Obispo, where you can leave your mark on the ever unique Bubblegum Alley or take a look back in time with a visit to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Just thirty minutes more up the Cuesta Grade (or simply “the grade” as locals call it), you’ll be whisked away to wine country.
Without any stops or traffic-related hiccups, you’re looking at about 4 hours in the car from LAX. Getting through LAX and to a rental car will add at least 30 minutes to your trip, and inevitably, traffic getting out of Los Angeles could add an hour or two. Once you hit Santa Barbara, you’ll be home-free.
By Car from the East
Take Highway 46 or 41 from Interstate 5 and the Valley (a la Bakersfield or Fresno). They’ll bring you right into town on 24th Street. Turn left onto Spring Street to get downtown before you pass through the stretch known as the James Dean Memorial Highway. With a short 2-hour drive (from Fresno or Bakersfield to Paso Robles), you’re looking at a streamlined car ride. Podcasts, audiobooks, and music make any ride way more fun.
Getting to Paso Robles by Train
AMTRAK goes up and down the West Coast of the United States. Traveling both north and south is the Coast Starlight. From Seattle to Los Angeles is 35 hours. Hitch a ride from Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco or any stops in-between. Arrive right on time at the Paso Robles train station. This train has sleeper cars and many more amenities to choose from as you travel the coast. The Coast Starlight, full of amenities, also comes up from the south. Jump on in Los Angeles and ride the seven-hour journey to Paso Robles.
For more train options, shoot up from further southern cities like San Diego on the Pacific Surfliner, which has a final stop in San Luis Obispo. You’ll then take a rental car the rest of the 30-minute drive to Paso Robles Wine Country from San Luis Obispo. The best part about the train is you don’t need to find a designated driver as you head out of town–or for the party animals as you head into town. Alcohol is allowed on the train.
No matter how you arrive, Paso Robles Wine Country is ready to welcome you with open arms. Locals and visitors alike make the trek frequently because it’s an easy hop-skip-and-jump to sip a glass of world-class wine while overlooking the stunning vineyards of Paso Robles. Come experience why Paso Robles is a must-see destination as you unwind, relax and recharge in the sun.
PC: SLOCAL, calikory, sarahkathleenphoto